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Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


Cartuxa Evora Colheita Tinto, Alentejo, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Most famous for their exclusive Pera Manca red, Cartuxa's other Alentejo wines are more accessible and a lot more affordable, and benefit from the same winemaking experience that produces their much more expensive cousin. The Cartuxa Evora Colheita Tinto is a juicy red blend that shows what this warm region of Portugal is all about — namely, fruitiness, spiciness, and power. Its tannins are noticeable but supple, making for an excellent red to sip on its own, or to pair with grilled steak.

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Vietti Cascinetta Moscato d'Asti, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Some wines are basically impossible to hate. Vietti Cascinetta's Moscato d'Asti is one of those wines. Equal parts accessible and elegant, this Moscato balances the line between subtle sweetness and refreshing acidity almost perfectly. Its grape, citrus, and tropical flavors are delicious, and its floral, perfumed nose manages to be explosive without being overbearing. This one's for Moscato lovers who are ready to take a step up above the norm.

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Dow's 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Aged for an average of twenty years in barrel, Dow's 20 Year Tawny Port is an upscale take on this venerable style of Portugal's famous dessert wine. Dow's typical drier style is evident throughout, bringing a sense of elegance to this wine's sweeter, caramel, dried fig, and rum flavors. Aromatically, it's complex, with toasted nut, dried fruit, and herb notes — the kind of wine that has you sniffing contemplatively over several minutes as it changes and becomes more nuanced after time in the glass. As far as Winter warmers, go, this one is tough to beat.

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Diora 'La Belle Fete' Rose of Pinot Noir, Monterey

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Translating roughly to "the beautiful party," Diora's 'La Belle Fete' Rose lives admirably up to its fanciful name. This rose is crafted from Pinot Noir in Monterey, and really shows off the balance and vivacity that this cooler region of California is capable of delivering. With notes of rose petals and cherry, flavors of wild red berries, and uplifting acidity, this is a rose that will refresh, delight, and please a wine-drinking crowd.

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Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

If you're looking for a distinctive dessert wine experience that brings you close to the depth and complexity of vintage Port, but can't justify spending that category's lofty asking price, check out Dow's Late Bottled Vintage Port. Fashioned on the drier side (as is Dow's signature style), this is full of spice and caramel aromas, along with dried fig and blackberry notes. In the LBV tradition, it's accessible now, but it carries a nice bit of tannic structure for graceful bottle aging (a rarity in its relatively low price range).

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Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Estate Chardonnay, Arroyo Grande Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

All-estate fruit from California in a wine that's regularly under $20/bottle? It's rare, but it does happen! Laetitia Vineyard & Winery's Estate Chardonnay from Arroyo Grande Valley is just such a bargain, and it's well worth seeking out if you're a lover of California Chardonnay. Walking a balanced line between rich, peachy creaminess and zesty, lemon-like vivacity, this white is long both in its baked-apple finish, and in the value it provides the discerning wine shopper.

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Villa Matilde Rocca dei Leoni Falanghina delle Campania, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Southern Italy is most famous for fruity, full-bodied, and sometimes downright forceful red wines, which often cause its white wines to get overlooked. Which is s shame, because the region's fresh white wines can offer a refreshing contrast to its robust reds. Take Villa Matilde Rocca dei Leoni's Falanghina from Campania as an example. This white delights with its stone fruit and white blossom aromas, and its ample tropical and citrus fruit flavors, all on a zesty palate that's lip-smacking and bright. It's a great palate-cleanser that won't even come close to breaking the bank.

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Mettler Family Vineyards Petite Sirah, Lodi

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

By combining long-standing experience in Lodi (their family has been farming in the region since the 1800s) with a lesser-known grape variety, Mettler Family Vineyards has produced a consistent winner with their Petite Sirah. This red packs very good bang for the buck, with robust, saturated vanilla and blueberry flavors, and heady aromas of cedar, smoke, and cocoa. Just the thing for warming yourself up on a cold Winter's night.

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Dow's 10 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Almost no wine pairs as well with holiday desserts - or functions quite as well on its own as holiday dessert - as Tawny Port. Aged in barrel for an average of ten years until it achieves its namesake hue, Dow's 10 Year Old Tawny Port is a caramel-laced, nutty, and powerfully mouth-filling example of Portugal's unique fortified delight. And a better match for homemade pecan pie would be very difficult to find!

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Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut, Champagne, France

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Ready to go big for your year-end holiday celebrations? Piper-Heidsieck's Cuvee Brut Champagne has arguably never been better, and can still be found for reasonable prices. This popular Champagne walks a fine, balanced line between toasty, rich, fruity opulence and zesty, focused, citric-like acidity. It's equal parts fun and elegant - as all holiday celebrations should be.

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